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U.S. Navy rescues 128 men from rough Mediterranean waters

By Steve Almasy, CNN
October 16, 2013 -- Updated 2112 GMT (0512 HKT)
The USS San Antonio.
The USS San Antonio.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Maltese authorities say the men were migrants from Somalia
  • The men were stuck on a raft being rocked by wind and rough water
  • The Navy didn't describe their conditions, said they ranged from 20 to 30 years old
  • The Mediterranean Sea has seen deadly accidents in the past few weeks

(CNN) -- A U.S. Navy crew rescued more than 100 men from a raft in rough water in the central Mediterranean on Wednesday, the service said.

The news release said 128 men ranged in age from 20 to 30 and were taken aboard the USS San Antonio, an amphibious transport dock ship.

A patrol aircraft from Malta spotted the raft being rocked by winds and waves. The San Antonio, which was 60 nautical miles away, answered a call from the Maltese government.

The Navy crew used two 11-person boats to rescue the men from the raft, which was about 75 nautical miles southwest of Malta, according to Maltese officials.

The Navy didn't say whether anyone was injured. The Maltese military said the men were migrants from Somalia.

A Maltese military statement said the men would be taken to Maltese Grand Harbour and turned over to the Maltese coast guard.

The Mediterranean has been the site of two deadly shipwrecks in recent weeks in which nearly 400 people have been killed.

Official: 31 dead, 200 rescued after ship capsizes near Lampedusa

Lampedusa, not far from Sicily and the closest Italian island to Africa, has become a destination for tens of thousands of refugees seeking to enter European Union countries -- and such fatal maritime accidents are all too common.

The 684-foot long San Antonio normally has a crew of 363 and is a part of the U.S. 6th Fleet.

Migrants appear undeterred, even after deadly shipwrecks

Vessel capsizes off Miami; 4 dead, 11 rescued

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